A comedian shares the Facebook conversations he had with a casual acquaintance after she contacted him about her impending divorce.
Shoemaker, a Los Angeles–based comedian known for his baritone-voiced character The Lovemaster, received a private Facebook message from Leah De Luca, whom he’d met a handful of times when she and her husband, Matt, attended his comedy shows in Philadelphia, his hometown. Leah wanted Shoemaker to know that she and Matt were divorcing after 30 years of marriage, that “from what I see from your life on Facebook, you seem like a compassionate man.” Upon reading this, Shoemaker—happily remarried but still struggling with his own divorce—replied to Leah, and a flurry of messages began. Shoemaker related the pain of his ex’s false accusations of child molestation as well as his own bleak childhood, which included actual molestation and “absent, unstable and baffling parents.” Leah touched on Matt’s emotional abuse during their marriage yet also the sadness she felt when he cut off communication during divorce proceedings. They also discussed the natures of forgiveness and acceptance and of taking responsibility for one’s own life. After about a year of such dialogue, Leah found new love, thanks to Shoemaker’s help, and both moved on to new phases of life. In his foreword, Shoemaker acknowledges that while there “may be fabrications” within his narrative—largely set up like an epistolary novel that replicates the Facebook messages—this is “irrelevant because it is all rooted in universal truth.” Indeed, the encouragement and advice to be mined from these missives may be helpful to anyone dealing with divorce or any other life crisis. While Shoemaker’s support of Leah was admirable, his own effusive, sometimes digressive self-expressions also dominated the text. In fact, the narrative could have used a bit more “mastering” of its own to further refine and develop the rather touching story of a friendship forged on Facebook.
A sincere, if at times rambling, re-creation of a spiritual “talking cure” via social media.